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Swaziland: Interesting facts about country that’s Africa’s last absolute monarchy

Eswatini, officially the Kingdom of Eswatini and also know as Swaziland in English, is a landlocked country found in the Southern parts of Africa and embedded between South Africa in the west and Mozambique in the east.

The country boasts of diverse wildlife such as lions, elephants and hippos living in the country’s popular games reserves the Mlawula Nature Reserve and the Hlane Royal National Park.

Unlike other country’s ruled by president’s, Eswatini is ruled by Kings, currently rulled by King Mswati III.

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Absolute monarchy

eSwatini is Africa’s last absolute monarchy and one among the few remaining in the world.

The king has supreme authority that all written laws, legislature or customs.

The head of state is refered the ‘Ingwenyama’ meaning ‘Lion’ and given respect in orders. He rules alongside his mother, Queen Mother Ntfombi Tfwala whom is referred to as ‘Indlovukazi’, meaning “the Great She Elephant”.

The two, who generally have equal power theoretically can keep each other in check.

Swaziland was eSwatini

For facts, eSwatini was always the name for the Kingdom that was always referred to at Swaziland since the colonial period.

In 2018 the kingdom underwent big and double celebration in which saw them mark 50 years of independence as well as celebrated the 50th birthday of King Mswati III.

The same year, the country celebrated changing it’s name from Swaziland to eSwatini in which saw large crowds of people come out in celebrations.

The Kingdom was however, always known as eSwatini by its people but the change was only needed for legal affirmation.

The big five

The country, as aforementioned, boasts of well preserved reserves like the Mlawula Nature Reserve and the Hlane Royal National Park which have animals like the lion, elephants, hippopotamus, Rhinos, Buffalos and many more.

The Kingdom is also one of the few countries in the world that boasts having bother black and white Rhinos.

Has longest reigning monarch

Sobhuza II is the longest reigning monarch in the world. Photo courtesy

The Kingdom has also had one of the most longest reigning monarch in the world.

King Sobhuza II, the present King’s father, King Mswati III, reigned from the year 1899 to 1982. Sobhuza spent 82years and 223 days on the top seat unshaken.

Having taken the thrown for a those years, Sobhuza takes lead in the list of monarch’s who have reigned for longest years.

Has two Capital cities.

Most of the countries are know to having one official capital which are recognized as the official seat of government in a state, and are also the location of the country’s administrative center.

But, Swaziland has two capital cities, namely Mbabane and Lobamba. Mbabane is the administrative capital while Lobamba is the traditional capital.

Well Mbabane is also the largest city with a population of approximately 100,000 people. The city is also home to 14 foreign embassies and consulates.

Lobamba on the other hand has the lowest number of population having approximately 12,000 people. It is recognized as the traditional, spiritual, and legislative capital of the state, and acts as the seat of the Parliament.

Lucky enough, Lobamba is home to the royal family.

Youngest crowned monarch in the world

King Mswati III was crowned at the age of 18. Photo courtesy

The Kingdom also boasts of having the youngest crowned monarch in the world the current head of state King Mswati III.

King Mswati III coronation happened when he was only 18 years old and has continued running the country pretty well.

Umhlanga Reed Dance

This is one Swaziland’s major cultural event. It is an eight-day ceremony that allows young girls to cut reeds and present them to the Queen Mother Ntfombi Tfwala ostensibly to repair the windbreak around her royal residence and then dance in celebration.

The even is graced by so many people and over 40,000 girls take part and what make the even spectacular in Africa is is their brightly colored attires.

The main event actually commences on the sixth day. The groups of the girls drop their reeds outside the Queen Mother’s quarters then moves to the main arena, where they dance and sing their songs.

They would dance until the seventh day when the king is available. This is the main day that most visitors attend. Each regiment dances before him in turn.

On the eighth day, the king is expected to command maybe over 25 cattles to be slaughtered for the girls. They are then offered pieces of meet and they walk back to their respective homes.

Largest population of nesting vultures

Swaziland’s Hlane Royal National Park is home to the largest population of nesting vultures in Africa.

The National park is also the country’s largest protected area and extends either side of the MR3 and making it impossible for better view of the wildlife even while passing in the highway.

The parks also hold also different camps and makes it easier for the royal hunt called Butimba to happen.

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Many royals

The kings of Swaziland are polygamous. For instance the current king, King Mswati III, has over 15 wive with multiple kids.

King Mswati III’s father, Sobhuza II had over 70 and multiple kids. This created a huge number of prince and princesses.

Members of the royal family can easily be spotted as they are entitled to wear red feathers in their hair.

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